Follow:
Topics:
Browsing Tag:

Food

    Fab Food

    Top Ten Dining Experiences Around the World

    Our Favs From the Past 18 Months

    Location: Around the World

    We have been traveling now for nearly 18 months.  We stayed in a lot of places.  We have seen a lot of sights.  We have eaten Рwell Рhundreds of meals.  Some better than others.  Most acceptable.  A few downright spectacular.  So we thought it was time to share our Top Ten Dining Experiences Around the World on our year and a half Grand Adventure;

    Lisbon Portugal– our number one most favorite meal of our top ten dining experiences around the world took place in Lisbon, where we seriously

    Top ten dining experiences

    Lisbon Portugal

    gorged ourselves on the best seafood meal I have ever enjoyed. ¬†Thankful to have our son’s friend Salvador there to order for us, we ate non-stop for several hours at Lisbon’s famous Cervejaria Ramiro restaurant. ¬†It’s memorable for many reasons, the most important the way Salvador managed the waitstaff, ordered food and beer at breathtaking speed and told stories of his growing up in Lisbon. ¬†I would love to relive that meal again and again.

    The remaining top ten dining experiences around the world are in no particular order –

    Sofia Bulgaria РHidden in a neighborhood behind a tall fence is the historic Sofia restaurant of Manastirska Magernista where we were introduced to Bulgarian cuisine.  Here we tasted for the first

    Top ten dining experiences

    Sofia Bulgaria

    time the warm crusty bread dipped in olive oil and a Bulgarian dry spice mix.  The slow roasted pork knuckle as big as my head and falling off the bone.  The fresh and delicious Shopska salad of cucumber, tomato and feta.  Staple foods of a cuisine we knew nothing about but now is one of our favs.  We ended up at this restaurant twice we loved it so much.

    Nesebar Bulgaria РBulgaria is the only country to land two spots in the top ten.  But our lunch in the beautiful seaside town of Nesebar deserves to be on the list.  At Plakamoto we again had pork

    Top Ten Dining Experiences

    Nesebar Bulgaria

    knuckle, a huge piece of meat we shared with fresh yogurt soup, cucumber salad and cold frothy beer on a sunny day overlooking the sea.  Perfect.

    Piran Slovenia Рfresh from the sea anchovies smothered in local olive oil and garlic still makes my mouth water thinking of it.  We ate two platters full in a tiny restaurant onboard a boat in the

    Top Ten Dining experiences

    Ladja Padlanika Restaurant in Piran Slovenia

    harbor called Ladja Podlanica, with about 15 other local Slovenians.  After we licked the platter clean we then ate a gigantic bowl of linguine con vongole (linguine with clams) in a perfect wine and garlic sauce.  We loved it so much we ate there twice, both times with our friends Marbi and Raymond. Tiny Piran is not a place you would expect to find one of our top ten dining experiences around the world.

    Asilah Morocco – one of our most favorite Airbnb’s and one of our most favorite local cuisines were combined during our wonderful ten days in Asiliah, Morocco. ¬†Here we met Latifah, our cook and housekeeper who opened our eyes to

    Top Ten dining Experiences

    Latifah unveiling the tajine in Asilah

    the wonders of Moroccan food.  She cooked for us everyday, she taught us how to cook, she took us to the market, she smiled and enjoyed watching us consume her scrumptious concoctions Рall while not speaking a single word of English.  We loved her and wanted to take her home.

    Top ten dining experiences

    Hoi An Vietnam

    Hoi An Vietnam – two separate experiences put the colorful city of Hoi An in the top ten dining experiences around the world. ¬†First ¬†I took an amazing cooking class here, in a beautiful cooking school called Miss Vy’s. ¬†One of the most advanced cooking schools I have experienced, I learned so much about Vietnams cuisine and Hoi An’s local specialities, which I learned to both cook and enjoyed eating.

    Top ten dining experiences

    Hoi An cooking class

    Furthering our Hoi An experience was our bicycle food tour with Grasshopper Tours. ¬†We headed out at dusk and spent three hours going from place to place eating our way through Hoi An and enjoying everything from Bahn Mi to Chicken Feet, Vietnames Pancakes to “Jumping Chicken” (frog), noodles to ice cream. ¬†Loved it.

    Barcelona Spain Рwe had been a bit disillusioned about the food in Spain, since the cuisine on the Camino de Santiago was less than inspiring Рuntil we arrived at Bodega 1900 in Barcelona.  We

    Top Ten Dining experiences

    Barcelona Spain

    began perusing the menu after we were seated but then the waiter arrived and whisked our menus away and announced the chef recommends a tasting menu of his choice, “is okay?”. ¬†“Well, umm, okay”, we agreed reluctantly. ¬†Arne’s eyeballs turning to dollar signs not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. ¬†But not to worry – a gastronomic feast of a dozen small plates from olive oil blobs to sardines, from sashimi to squid and so much more. ¬†A lovely experience at a reasonable price.

    Swakopmond Nambia – our favorite tour guide

    Top Ten Dining experiwnces

    Swakopmund Namibia

    Seven made sure we had a chance to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary in style. ¬†He surprised us by making a reservation for us at Swakopmond’s best seafood restaurant, The Tug, overlooking the beautiful bay. ¬†Here we tried for the first time two different fish – Kingclip and Kabeljou. ¬†Both were prepared perfectly and absolutely delicious and a now a new yet hard to find favorite. It was a lovely evening.

    Luang Prabang Laos РWe stayed in the beautiful Maison Dalabua hotel in Luang Prabang complete with a UNESCO World Heritage Lily Pond.  It was a lovely place and we dined at the Manda de Laos

    Top Ten Dining Experiences

    Luang Prabang Laos

    restaurant that sits over the lily pond.  The evening was warm and lovely and it had been a long time since we dressed up and had a nice dinner.  We enjoyed the local Laos cuisines including papaya salad, noodles, chicken and more, all served impeccably and presented with fresh flowers as garnish.  A top ten memorable evening and a top ten dining experience around the world.

    Top ten ding experiences around the world

    Peka in Dubrovnik Croatia

    Dubrovnik Croatia – Learning to make the local dish called Peka in a local families home outside of Dubrovnik was a wonderful experience for me – even though the dish is extremely complicated and not something I think I will ever make at home. ¬†But I enjoyed it so much we made a reservation later to enjoy it again at Dubrovnik’s famous Konoba Dubrava restaurant high above the hills of the city. ¬†Peka is a dish of pork, lamb or beef cooked with potatoes and vegetables in a giant metal pan (Peka) buried in the coals of a blazing hot fire. ¬†It creates a sweltering kitchen with a mouth watering result. ¬†A very memorable meal both times.

    Is it any wonder I haven’t lost any weight on the Grand Adventure? ¬†LOL. ¬†Life is fabulous!! ¬†Fat and happy travels.

    Read more of our food blogs here

     

     

    Fab Asia Travel  --  Fab Food

    The Flavors of Bali

    Cooking Class in Munduk Bali

    Location: Munduk, Bali, Indonesia

    Lemongrass, garlic, turmeric.  The Flavors of Bali.  Ginger, cloves, coffee.  The Flavors of Bali. Cardamon, nutmeg, galangal.  The Flavors of Bali. Chili, Chocolate, Fruit.

    The flavors of Bali

    At the morning market

    Bali smells good.  Bali tastes good.  And Bali is a feast for the eyes as well.  A beautiful tropical island in Indonesia with happy and kind people, gorgeous mountains and seashore, lush green foliage and bright tropical flowers and fruits with flavors that explode in your mouth and bring a smile to your face.  The Flavors of Bali. Fresh and unforgettable.

    During our three days at the Puri Lumbung

    The flavors of bali

    Buying the banana leaf

    Cottages in the village of Munduk we enjoyed an hour and a half cooking class where we learned about combining all the amazing flavors of Bali into six distinctly Bali dishes.  We enjoyed a feast after we cooked and found a new appreciation for fresh and local ingredients.

    Our day started with an early morning walk to the tiny and very authentic local market in the village

    The flavors of bali

    Beautiful view from the outdoor kitchen

    of Munduk.  We purchased our fresh ingredients here including; cassava a green similar to spinach that would go in our soup; ferns a green similar to fiddleheads that we would use to make a side dish; lemongrass a Bali staple that we would use in multiple dishes; fresh white corn that we would use in corn fritters; banana leaves we would wrap the fish in; and galanga a root flavoring similar to ginger that we would use in multiple dishes.

    The flavors of bali

    Ingredients waiting the preparations

    When we arrived at the beautiful open air kitchen overlooking the rice fields and vast valley below we found four work stations each with a ulekan and cobek Рa Balinese style mortar and pestle made from local basalt.  At each work station ingredients where waiting in each ulekan for us to begin the somewhat arduous process of crushing and combining the flavors of Bali for each individual dish.

    The flavors of bali

    John crushes the spices

    Timbungan Ayam is a clear chicken soup with cassava leaves and fried shallots.  We ground the flavors of chili, shallot, galangal, lemongrass, nutmeg, lime leaves and shrimp paste into a mash that was then combined with chopped fresh chicken and cassava and cooked on the open flame stove top.  It was a delicious broth and one of my favorite flavors of the day.

    The flavors of bali

    Me preparing the soup

    Bergedel Tagung is a fried corn fritter.  In the ulekan we ground the flavors of Bali of nutmeg, chili, garlic and shrimp paste.  We then took the fresh corn off the cobb, mixed it with the spices and an egg and cooked the fritters (about the size of a fifty cent piece) in corn oil.  Crunchy and delicious.

    The flavors of bali

    Carole wraps the fish in banana leaf

    Pepes Ikan Laut is a fish dish smothered in a Balinese paste then wrapped in banana leaf and grilled.  In the ulekan we had our toughest ingredients to grind including shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, aromatic ginger, candle nut (like macadamia) nutmeg, tomato, shrimp paste, chile and salt & pepper.  First mixed with coconut oil into a paste, this mixture was smeared all over chunks of fresh fish.  The banana leaves were laid out in two layers with one large bay leaf in the center.  The fish was

    The flavors of Bali

    Fish on the grill

    spooned evenly on four banana leaves which were wrapped and folded and secured with a bamboo toothpick before being laid in a hot pan on an open flame for grilling.  When it was time to eat we opened the banana leaf envelope to find the chunks had fused together into an aromatic and juicy fish surprise.

    Be Siap Sere Bawang is a chicken dish with a strong lemongrass flavor.  We began by grinding the spices of shrimp paste, chili, turmeric, salt & pepper into a paste.  The cooked chicken was

    The flavors of bali

    Everybody crushing spices

    shredded into pieces and mixed with the spices, sliced lemongrass and sliced shallots then quickly sauted to soften the lemongrass.  Probably my least favorite of all the dishes just because of the too strong flavor of lemongrass.

    Urap Campur is like a side vegetable dish.  It can be made with most any green vegetable such as cassava, cabbage or long bean.  For our cooking class we used local ferns.  The ferns were

    The flavors of bali

    Top Ferns and fish in banana leaf  Bottom lemongrass chicken & cornfritters

     

    blanched and water squeezed out before we arrived.  The ferns were mixed together with grated coconut, cooked local red beans, fried shallot, juice of the kaffir lime and salt and pepper.

    Bubur Campur was our dessert a mix of local fruits including jackfruit, banana, pandan, mangosteen and sweet potato.  We boiled the fruit in water with palm sugar syrup for sweetener, a bit of starch for thickening and coconut milk for flavor.  It was served in a bowl and we all agreed it would have been better served over vanilla ice cream.

    The flavors of bali

    Successful team

    We have really enjoyed our time in Bali and getting to know the Flavors of Bali.  As in so many cultures the Balinese enjoy what is local and seasonal in their simple but delicious everyday foods.  And we enjoyed experiencing it first hand.  The Flavors of Bali.  Fabulous.

    Check out our other posts about our time in the beautiful island of Bali.

    This post includes affiliate links and we may be compensated if you purchase these books.  Any money earned here goes back to the maintenance costs of this .  Thank you.

     

    Fab Asia Travel

    Finding an Oasis at Puri Lumbung Cottages

    Munduk Bali Indonesia

    Location: Munduk, Bali, Indonesia

    We veered off our normal routine of staying in Airbnb’s these past few days. I am so glad we did, taking a chance on a little resort I read about in Lonely Planet, and finding an oasis in Puri Lumbung Cottages.

    Finding an oasis

    Mount Batur on our wat

    I could spend a month here.

    We are high (800 meters or 2500 feet) in the Bali mountains north and west of Ubud. We had a wonderful (but steep and winding) drive from

    Finding an oasis

    Temple Pura Ulun Danu

    Ubud to Munduk and saw many beautiful views in lush green terraced rice fields, lakes, volcanoes and temples.

    The weather here is cool and comfortable. Mornings are sunny and afternoons usually bring a

    Finding an oasis

    The view

    shower.

    This hotel has been a wonderful experience. We have a spectacular view overlooking the valley with the Java Sea (Pacific Ocean) in the distance about 7 miles away.  I love sitting on our balcony and watching the changing colors and cloud formations throughout the day Рfabulous.

    Finding an oasis

    Beautiful gardens

    Finding an oasis at the Puri  Lumbung cottages was our lucky break.  With our friends John and Carole we paid $650 USD and here is what we got;

    • 2 beautiful cottages with bedroom, bath and balcony set in the rice fields overlooking the valley. ¬†The cottages are historic rice barns
      Finding an oasis

      Our cottage

      that have been converted into cottages. The price included three nights.

    • Breakfast served in the restaurant each morning. Sometimes a buffet and sometimes ala carte, we enjoyed American style as well as Indonesian and Balinese style breakfast.
    • Guided trek to the local waterfall. We enjoyed this on our first morning and it was a tough
      Finding an oasis

      Waterfall trek

      and steep three mile hike. Very invigorating and boy did we work up a sweat.

    • Massage in the spa. ¬†Our price included one massage for each of us, but since Arne doesn‚Äôt like massages I got two! Boy did that feel good after the hike!
    • Afternoon tea served on our balcony each
      Finding an oasis

      The village market

      day at three o’clock.

    • Guided trip to the local market followed by a cooking class for the four of us. ¬†Here we learned to make a feast of local dishes using local ingredients. We then ate everything we
      Finding an oasis

      Our cooking class

      cooked and were so stuffed we didnt even need dinner.

    All of this included in the price.  Dinner was not included, but we ate dinner in the restaurant only one night and only spent $25 including drinks.

    So finding an oasis in Puri Lumbung cottages has been a special treat.  The staff is so friendly.

    Finding an oasis

    A ‚Äúroad‚ÄĚ in the village

    Always smiling and happy. The hotel was started back in the 1940’s as a way to give the local people jobs.  Still today the friendly locals from the tiny village of Munduk work here.  Everyone from the receptionist to our trek guides.  The gardeners keep the grounds pristine.  The chef creates delicious food.  The housekeepers are excellent.  The massage therapist amazing. We have no complaints.

    Oh and the view. Bonus.

    Finding an oasis

    Afternoon tea

    Our Bali experience has been wonderful overall, but we will always remember our special time at the hidden Puri Lumbung (translation Rice Palace) where we relaxed and found some of the Bali of old – a bit lost in time where hospitality is king. It was our lucky day finding an oasis in Puri

    Finding an oasis

    Beautiful gardens

    Lumbung cottages.

    Matur Suksma (thank you very much)!

     

    Fab Africa Travel  --  Fab Food

    The Rainbow Nation

    Colorful South Africa and it’s Colorful Cuisine

    Location: South Africa

    They call it the Rainbow Nation.  A country with an extraordinary political and social background, with a kaleidoscope of ethnic Peoples, blended into one nation.  Shaken not stirred.

    But here it is Рamazing South Africa.  Hundreds and hundreds of years of slavery and oppression, colonization and apartheid but surprisingly today

    Nelson Mandela

    together.  A mere 25 years after the end of apartheid (meaning apartness in Afrikaans) people of all backgrounds seem to get along here, quit happily.

    But despite equal rights it‚Äôs clear to see the economic difference still between white South Africans, “non- whites” and colored. These terms are from the apartheid era, when every person fit into one of these three categories and¬†laws kept groups separate in all aspects of life. ¬†Today you’ll still find people living separately in historically separate neighborhoods such as the

    Colorful Bo Kaap

    Muslim Bo Kaap and the Black Townships, but progress is slowly changing this.

    There are nine South African native tribes who lived as hunter gatherers and pastoral people for thousands of years before the Dutch East India Company arrived 1652. As the Dutch entrenched (and later the British) they used indigenous people as slaves and began bringing in slaves from Angola, Mozambique, Madagascar, Malaysia, Indonesia and India as well as others.

    Today’s South Africa is made up of the ancestors of all of these races, a colorful mix of cultures truly

    Cooking on the Braai

    making it The Rainbow Nation.

    The gastronomic effects of such a blended nation cannot be overstated, and luckily for visitors the reward is superb.  Taking the foods of these groups and combining it with the wide variety of fresh produce, local seafood and game you get a melded and delicious South African cuisine.

    Pumpkin Pap curried cabbage

    I am no expert, but I sure like to eat, and during my time so far in South Africa I have joyfully discovered wonderful foods and flavors and also took a fun cooking class to delve even deeper.

    Let me share with you some of my favorite discoveries;

    Pap Рfor breakfast or anytime, pap is a staple food with a long history.  It is very much like fufou that we ate in Burkina Faso (made from plantain) and when made from maize (the most frequently used grain) it tastes much like grits or polenta. We have enjoyed pap several times and my favorite by far was the Pumpkin Pap we made together at our

    Smoked Snoek

    cooking class with Nadege Cuisine.  It was served with a curried cabbage and delicious smoked Snoek.

    Snoek Рis a very popular (and very ugly) locally caught white fish that can grow very large.  It is of the mackerel family and is known as barracuda in other parts of the world.  One of the favorite ways to enjoy this fish is grilled on the Braai (see below) or smoked.  Smoked Snoek is available in grocery stores.  It tasted very much like smoked sturgeon to me.  The smokey and salty mixed with the sweet pumpkin pap was a real winner.

    Seasoning for the Braai

    Braai – the local word for BBQ is as much a social function as a food. ¬†Most anything can be thrown on the Braai, but most meats and fish are slathered with a spicy rub mix of chili, salt and herbs. ¬†Braais happen frequently where neighbors and friends gather to enjoy each other’s company around the Braai. ¬†The host provides the salad and the guests bring their own meat and drink. ¬†It’s very popular to cook Snoek on the Braai slathered in apricot jam.

    Bobotie – my favorite of all the foods I have tried so

    Bobotie

    far, this is the unofficial national dish of South Africa.  The dish likely has its roots in Indonesia and it is a savory mix of ground spiced meat with a custard topping and usually served or combined with rice.  We had this at a famous Bo Kaap restaurant called Biesmiellah and it was fantastic.  Always served with chutney.

    Chutney РNearly every meal in South Africa is served with chutney, a sweet preserve usually of fruits but it also can include onions or savory produce.  Mango chutney is very popular and usually served with the Bobotie.

    Breyani

    Breyani Рwe also tried this dish at Biesmiellah and it was great.  The masala spice noted the heritage of this dish as Indian or Malaysian.  It can be made with different meats, we enjoyed it with chicken.  The dish is a fragrant mix of cumin, corrrinder, cinnamon, cardamom,lentils, rice and sometimes hard-boiled eggs and is served with a yogurt sauce on the side.

    Crayfish – I ordered this item at a nice restaurant we

    Crayfish

    went to in Cape Town called Aubergine and it was fantastic. ¬†It’s nothing at all like what I think of as the small crayfish we sometimes eat at home. ¬†It actually is a small lobster. ¬†Lucky for me this appetizer dish was perfectly cooked and served with a luscious squid ink pasta. ¬†Perfection.

    Ostrich – a very popular red meat all over the

    Nadege pan frys the ostrich

    southern parts of Africa you will find ostrich on menus and in grocery stores everywhere. ¬†It is a very dark red meat, best prepared and served simply, and we enjoyed it flash pan-fried and medium rare at our cooking class with Nadege. Ostrich is farmed in South Africa and all parts of the animal are used including the skin¬†for leather, the feathers for down, the beak and bones for jewelry and the egg shells for jewelry and decorative items. ¬†It’s not as easy though to find a fresh ostrich egg. ¬†Each egg is the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs. ¬†I still hope to buy and cook one soon.

    Mealie Bread – I love this delicious bread, similar to cornbread we make at home but lighter. ¬†My favorite preparation I’ve had so far was at Aubergine where they added a hint of caraway. ¬†Delicious.

    Cape Malay Curry – Sweeter than other curries I’ve had, Cape Malay curry once again uses the favorite apricot of South Africa as well as cinnamon and ginger and makes a delicious not to be missed meal.

    Game – much of the game meat is farmed and

    Malva Pudding

    available and shows up on restaurant menus including Warthog, Impala and Springbok, which is small deer-like animal we saw a lot of in Namibia.  We enjoyed the Springbok at Aubergine where it was perfectly cooked medium rare and served with a nice black mushroom sauce with a hint of walnut.

    Malva Pudding Рusing the word pudding in the British way for cake, Malva pudding is one of several popular dessert and sweet dishes uniquely South African.  This dark spongy cake made from butter, vanilla and apricot jam (there it is again) tastes much like a bread pudding and is usually

    Potatoe pudding with peach compote

    served with a warm custard or ice cream.

    Potato Pudding Рsimilarly this lovely cake, also much like custard or bread pudding, is made from potatoes, coconut oil, cardamom, almond extract and condensed milk and is served with a stewed fruit sauce of dried peaches and cinnamon.  A perfect end to the meal we had at Nadege Cuisine.

    Through out the Cape Town region you will also find many offerings that reflect the British, French and Dutch population as well as other African nations. ¬†We enjoyed a fabulous Ethiopian meal one afternoon for lunch at Madam Taitou’s and a

    Eggs Benedict

    beautiful Eggs Benedict the next day for breakfast at the historic and gorgeous British colonial hotel Mount Nelson. ¬†However, you won’t find a restaurant calling itself a “South African” restaurant. ¬†The cuisine is just really coming into its own as a stand alone fare, and rightfully so. ¬†Hopefully soon, South African will be as common as Mexican or Italian.

    It certainly is just as delicious.

     

     

    Fab Africa Travel

    Morocco on my Mind

    Chapter Eleven

    Location: Morocco

    Morocco on my mind. We’ve been in Morocco for 15 days and in Asilah for a week already and I am enchanted. ¬†And so very relaxed. ¬†Morocco is just about everything I could have hoped for.

    View from Our airbnb

    Except warm.

    No, in November Morocco is not warm. ¬†I’ve layered up a lot, buried myself under blankets and comforters at

    Tea by the fire

    night, and cuddled up by a roaring fire in the evenings. ¬†But it’s actually nice. ¬†It’s sunny during the day, and comfortable and dry and we know we have heat and humidity coming up in destinations in the near future, so we are enjoying a bit of “winter” in North

    Moroccan Harira soup

    Africa.

    Morocco on my mind.

    Casablanca was “meh”, Chefchauoen was “bright”, Tangier was “confusing” but Asilah – ahhhh Asilah. ¬†I will never forget you. ¬†We are right on the ocean where the crashing waves lull us to sleep. ¬†Where our morning coffee and breakfast is served on the terrace with the wind and salt air cooling our coffee mugs. ¬†We walk on the beach each morning, with the resident camels, and wander the quiet “off-season” historic medina. ¬†We visit the mercado with the locals, no other tourists around and we are both

    Mercado

    Latifah makes Couscous

    accepted and stared at by the amazing variety of residents of this region.  Asilah has been a spectacular, laid back, relaxed place to recuperate and regroup  on the Grand Adventure.  Exactly what the doctor ordered.

    Of course our perfect Airbnb plays a major role in how happy we are here.  Not only is the space perfect but it comes with Latifah, our personal chef and housemaid who is talented, kind, funny, and one of the hardest working people I have ever met in my life.  We have not eaten out at all during our

    View from our room

    time in Asilah Рwe have instead allowed the talented Latifah to pamper us beyond reason.  And I am so happy.

    Morocco on my mind.

    Our friends from California Sarah and Steve arrived two days ago and they too are loving Asilah and Latifah and we all are learning to cook the incredible Moroccan cuisine together.  Expect a blog soon about the cuisine of this amazing country.

    Two weeks in and still two weeks to go.  We relax

    Beautiful spices

    here in Asilah for a few more days and then we pick up the pace again; four days in Fez where we have a lot planned, five days on a tour that includes the desert and then three days in Marrakesh.  Feeling satisfied and welcome, enchanted and enthralled in this colorful, ancient and fascinating world.

    Morocco on my mind.

    Fab Europe Travel  --  Fab Food

    A loaf of bread A Jug of Wine & Thou

    Hikers Cannot Live on Bread Alone

    Location: Camino de Santiago

    A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒOmar Khayyam

    The sentiment in Khayyam’s words are not lost ¬†on me. Particularly as I try to walk my Camino with an open mind for a simple life. Medieval pilgrims certainly would have been grateful for bread alone and may have subsisted solely on it – with a watery soup and wine thrown in from time to time.

    Tortilla Espanola

    But man I want a salad.

    As in most European countries bread is life. ¬†In Spain the Panaderia on every corner is busy from the break of day. ¬†This is true in the cities and in the small villages we walk through. ¬†Some small towns we find the “Bread man” (my term) driving through the streets honking his horn. ¬†Kinda like the ice cream man when I was a kid.

    Croissant with ham and cheese

    Boccadilla

    Along the Camino finding food is a bit of a challenge unless you are in a large city.  And finding food that includes nice fresh produce is even harder.  And dinner before 8pm? Forget about it.

    Likely for convenience and cost, the places that pop up for sustenance on the Camino sell baguette sandwiches¬†called bocadilla, or the national dish of Spain, Tortilla Espinosa (an egg and potato torta/omelette), and coffee. ¬†Sometimes apples and bananas. ¬†This is what is considered both breakfast and lunch food. ¬†It’s cheap and easy to carry.

    I’ve learned to pick up fresh fruit when I see it and stash it in our pack. ¬†Clearly we are a long way from starving but a girl needs something to help her walk 14 miles each day.

    Eggplant Hummus

    A couple of days ago on a particularly uninhabited stretch of our walk I had  ham and cheese on a dry baguette for breakfast, tuna on hard focaccia for lunch and ham and cheese on baguette for dinner.

    That was the day I said no more bread.  No mas!

    And there was the one night we shared a can of tuna and a whole zuchinni while laying in bed.

    At the end of each day we can usually find what is

    One salad mixta from a very good Peregrino dinner

    called the Peregrino Dinner.  In every town we have found this except for one.  This meal is usually $10-12 Euro and includes two or three courses with choices.  The first course may be a choice of salad mixta, soup or pasta.  I always get the salad which 99% of the time is lettuce, tomato, canned tuna and maybe carrot and egg.

    But the second course is ALWAYS French fries with some meat.  You can choose chicken, pork, beef or

    This was an excellent salad in Burgos

    maybe veal or lamb.  No veg.

    Sigh.  I just want some nice zucchini or spinach or green beans or kale por favor!

    One evening we did encounter a Peregrino Dinner with a vegetarian option.  I happily ordered the vegetarian paella instead of meat and fries.  It was warm and yummy saffron rice with peas, beans, cauliflower and carrots.

    In our 16 days on the Camino our best meals have

    Catalan soup with pork and pasta

    come in the bigger towns. ¬†No surprise. ¬†I’m still dreaming about the Caesar Salad and Eggplant hummus we had in Pamplona or the beautiful Salad Mixta with fresh tuna, asparagus and beets I had with Catalon soup in Burgos. ¬†And the best peregrino¬†meal we enjoyed was a pork knuckle and the first course was fresh baby artichoke hearts with lemon in Puenta la Reina. ¬†Happiness on a plate.

    Thumbs up for this Paella

    And so I’ve grown even more appreciative of fresh food with fresh ingredients and a variety of fruits and vegetables. ¬†And when I can’t get it, well I am then grateful on those days for a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou.

    Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; –¬†Ecclesiastes 9:7

    191 miles done.  298 to go!

    Buen Camino!

     

    Fab Europe Travel

    Turning Portuguese, I Think I’m Turning Portuguese, I Really Think So

    Chapter Ten

    Location: Portugal

    For the last few days I’ve had that 1980’s punk rock song by the Vapors rolling around in my head – but with one change in the lyrics;

    “I’m turning Portuguese, I think I’m turning Portuguese, I really think so. ”

    Weird. I know.

    But here is the thing – oh my gosh I love it here! ¬†So I kinda think I’m turning Portuguese.

    First of all I clearly can pass for a local – as long as I don’t open my mouth. Olive skin just soaks up the sun.

    Turning Portuguese.

    Secondly I love the weather. It’s unlike anywhere I’ve been. I totally expected it to be high humidity¬†and tropical. It is neither. It’s like living in Arizona but with an ocean. The air is so dry. Hot days turn to cool, even nearly cold nights and mornings,¬†¬†just like in the desert. But on the ocean. No air conditioning needed.

    I think I’m turning Portuguese.

    And then there is the food. ¬†It’s heavenly. ¬†A bit like Mediterranean, a bit like Spanish, but mostly unique and completely delicious. ¬†The freshest seafood I have ever had. ¬†Incredible beef, pork and cheese. ¬†And the produce – especially right now. ¬†It’s mind-boggling. ¬†Top it with amazing wine and port and well- it’s purely Portuguese.

    I really think so.

    So the Vapors are rolling around in my head and I’m okay with that. ¬†It reminds me of college – and it makes me happy to be Portuguese… at least for two more weeks.

    That’s why I’m turning Portuguese, I think I’m turning Portuguese. I really think so!